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US war crimes envoy says Bosnian Serb fugitives must not be tried in Belgrade

[JURIST] US ambassador-at-large for war crimes Clint Williamson [official profile] told a Sarajevo newspaper in an interview published Tuesday that the United States would consider it "absolutely unacceptable" for fugitive Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic [ICTY backgrounder; BBC profile] and his military commander Ratko Mladic [ICTY backgrounder; JURIST news archive] to be tried in a Serbian court in Belgrade if they are caught after the mandate of the current International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia [official website] expires in 2010. The tribunal has already started to delegate some of its pending war crimes cases to local war crimes tribunals in other states of the former Yugoslavia, including Serbia [JURIST report]. Instead, Williamson suggested that there "needs to be found a body in the international system that will try them," according to a Reuters translation. The statement would seem to contemplate some special international tribunal, as the United States has been largely opposed to extending the jurisdiction of the new International Criminal Court [official website; JURIST news archive], which in any event would lack jurisdiction as the crimes for which Karadzic and Mladic would be tried predate the ICC's statutory horizon of July 1, 2002.

Karadzic and Mladic are wanted by the ICTY for alleged crimes committed during Bosnia's 1992-95 war, including organizing the 1995 slaughter of 8,000 Muslims in Srebrenica [JURIST news archive]. Reuters has more.

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